What is ASP.NET?

    7 min read

    When it comes to building dynamic websites, dynamic web pages, web applications, and web services, millions of developers worldwide are turning to ASP.NET for its versatility. 

    If we were to count every public website running on ASP.NET today, we’d arrive at a staggering number of approximately 7 million sites, illustrating widespread use and adoption. 

    In the late 1990s, Microsoft came out with its first web technology called ASP which stood for Active Server Pages. This original version of ASP is now referred to as “Classic ASP”. The names of those pages ended in “.asp” whereas the newer ASP.NET pages end in “aspx”.

    Initially released in 2002 by Microsoft, ASP.NET is now an open-source web development framework used to build services and modern web applications with the Microsoft .NET Framework. Best of all, it’s now completely cross-platform and applications can run on Linux, Windows, macOS, and even in Docker containers. ASP.NET is an extension of Microsoft’s .NET platform, a framework made up of various programming tools, languages, and libraries that can be used to build custom software applications from the ground up. Applications built in ASP.NET run on the common language runtime or CLR. Common .NET programming languages are C#, Visual Basic, F#, Python, and C++ with C# being the most popular language.

    We’ll walk through ASP.NET in detail and explore what it is commonly used for, the differences between ASP.NET and PHP, why you should use ASP.NET, its associated benefits, and how you can begin developing your ASP.NET web application today. Let’s get started! 


    What is ASP.NET used for?

    ASP.NET is a web framework for developing custom websites and web applications. ASP.NET development services provide businesses with robust and scalable solutions to build dynamic and feature-rich web applications. It runs on a Windows server, and the Web Server application that generates the ASP.NET pages and sends them to the browser is called IIS (Internet Information Services). 

    Due to the flexible nature of ASP.NET development, it has been used throughout a vast variety of industries, sectors, and use cases. While this isn’t an exhaustive list, we’ll cover some common uses for ASP.NET, including inventory management, process workflows, medical records, and content management. 

    ASP.NET is most commonly used for:

    • Inventory Management – Developers use ASP.NET to build dynamic inventory management solutions, whether proprietary or open source. 

    • Personnel Management – Every organization needs a solid and reliable personnel management solution, a project that could be quickly completed with the ASP.NET web application framework. 

    • Document Management – Many document management systems are built on the ASP.NET Framework, allowing employees and teams to share documents among themselves, perform document and content reviews, and establish processing cycles and systems for their businesses. 

    • E-Commerce – Online commerce (e-commerce) stores have built their entire backend and frontend ordering systems using ASP.NET.

    • Process Workflows – If an existing business process workflow has inefficiencies and could be improved with a web application that can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere, that workflow could be implemented and improved using ASP.NET.

    • Content Management – The ASP.NET web pages in DotNetNuke (also known as DNN) can help developers build fully customized content management systems, allowing enterprises to publish articles, informational content, and updates according to their guidelines and specifications. 

    • Accounting and Finance – Hundreds of excellent accounting and finance applications were built on the ASP.NET platform.

    • Manufacturing Process Control – By using ASP.NET, companies can build process dashboards that allow them to monitor and control manufacturing processes.

    • Client Management – Custom ticketing and customer service systems have been built using ASP.NET from the ground up. 

    • Integrations with CRMs – If a business is in sales or nurturing client relationships over time, they can use ASP.NET to integrate their web application or website into a CRM for easy monitoring.

    All of these use cases point to the fact that ASP.NET is incredibly flexible as a software development framework. It’s increasingly being used for improving business processes and workflows in order to increase productivity.

    Enterprises can use ASP.NET to build web applications for inventory management, document management, and personnel management. Rather than relying on multiple different third-party tools, a custom application will allow you to build something that you can control and manage from one central location. The simplest solution might not always be the most glamorous, but it is usually the solution that provides clarity and purpose simultaneously. 


    What is the difference between ASP.NET and PHP?

    Even though ASP.NET and PHP have a few similarities, there are a number of significant differences that set them apart. We will cover the differences between these two frameworks and programming languages and explore why ASP.NET usually comes out on top as a web application framework of choice. 


    Unlike other web development models, ASP.NET provides developers with comprehensive software infrastructure, a programming model, and additional services that make building a robust application as straightforward as possible. ASP.NET has been optimized to access data in SQL Server databases.

    Since it is built on the .NET Framework, ASP.NET’s most popular .NET languages are C# and VB.NET for the backend, with excellent support for JavaScript, HTML, and CSS on the front end. 


    PHP was initially released in 1997 as a small open-source project and eventually grew into the programming language that powered the early internet. PHP works by processing its code with a PHP interpreter that sends the appropriate instructions to a module within a web server that actually generates the pages. 

    One of the strengths of PHP is how easy data access is. It can be integrated with nearly any online database, allowing developers to create integrations and database connections without much hassle. Specifically, PHP is well known for its simple integration with SQL Server. However, because PHP tends to mix front-end code with back-end code, it makes it harder to understand and maintain as the complexity of the application grows. ASP.NET clearly separates the front end from the back end thus making it easier to maintain and grow.

    What are the benefits of ASP.NET?

    ASP_NET-Software-Development-OutsourcingASP.NET has many advantages and benefits that can be enjoyed to their fullest potential after you’ve built a web application or web service using the framework. 

    One of the most well-known features of ASP.NET is that it is language-independent, meaning ASP.NET developers could write in any programming language they want instead of being locked into a single native language. Whether you want to write your web app in C#, Visual Basic, J#, or another one of your favorite languages, you’ll be able to do so. 

    Compared to traditional scripts, ASP.NET programs execute much faster. This is due to the fact that ASP.NET is a server-side technology, meaning that any code or actions that take place are processed on the server and then displayed in your web browser. 

    Additionally, ASP.NET comes with several powerful out-of-the-box features like early binding, just-in-time compilation, caching services, and native optimization. Many alternative platforms either don’t have these features at all, or they require you to download additional plugins or addons in order to extend this functionality into your project. While this extended functionality is great on the surface, it can begin to make your web application “bloated”, requiring more processing power and reducing speeds as a result.

    Why Should I Use ASP.NET?

    If you’d like to build a web application or service that blows your clients out of the water, it’s worth considering using the ASP.NET web framework to bring your vision to reality. 

    ASP.NET has a wide variety of advantages compared to alternative frameworks currently available on the market today, some of which we’ll cover in more detail below. 

    If you use ASP.NET for your next custom software development project:

    • You’ll have a simplified way to build the front-end client-side of your app within the Visual Studio Development environment. Rather than manually sizing and modifying elements through code, you can enjoy drag-and-drop functionality to build a user interface your customers will love. 

    • You’ll be able to use technology that revitalized Microsoft’s app development programs.

    • Leverage technology that significantly decreases the amount of code required to build large applications. 

    • Take advantage of the fact that ASP.NET applications are run mostly on the server side. This means that your server executes the code first, and the results are sent to your web browser. 

    • Reduce costs by using technology that lets you create custom web applications with ease. Instead of writing everything from scratch, you can leverage the built-in libraries to deliver the best products possible.

    • Simplify the software development process by building data entry screens with ASP.NET Web Forms. Web forms are a snap with the built-in visual designer. 

    • You will use fewer lines of code with ASP.NET compared to legacy programming languages used for building applications for the web. With ASP.NET, you’ll be able to use its simpler syntax to save valuable time and work on what truly matters. 

    • ASP.NET has built-in features that allow application integration across the internet through web APIs. This gives you a great ability to leverage the functionality of thousands of applications out there.

    • MVC (model view controller) is a software design pattern used to separate the data (Model), the user interface (View), and the application logic (Controller). This makes building, debugging, and maintaining ASP.NET web applications easier. ASP.NET MVC is built into the platform.

    • ASP.NET comes with many project templates that improve developer productivity by helping you lay down the basics of various common web applications with doing very little coding. You can even create your own project templates in the Visual Studio IDE (Integrated Development Environment).

    Bottom line: programmers love the ASP.NET development environment.


    What is the difference between ASP.NET and ASP.NET Core?

    Until this point in time, we’ve been discussing ASP.NET – what then is ASP.NET Core

    To put it simply, ASP.NET Core is a newer version of ASP.NET released as open source to the community. It can be executed in a number of different web browsers and every type of operating system, whether it’s Windows, macOS, or Linux. It’s also worth noting that ASP.NET core also performs better than earlier versions of ASP.NET. 

    ASP.NET Core is open-source, a modular lean framework, simple to build cross-platform applications on, and contains a cloud-heavy environment that ensures your work is always saved and never lost. 

    All in all, if you’re looking for a web framework that’s one step above standard ASP.NET, then using ASP.NET Core is the next logical option. The additional features included within ASP.NET core make it ideal for building larger web applications and ensuring that your code is executed quicker than before. ASP.NET core development is more efficient than traditional custom software development methods.

    How to get an ASP.NET Web Application developed.

    So, you want to dive into software development and build your own ASP.NET web application from scratch, but you haven’t yet watched a tutorial, read a guide, or taken a class – where do you begin? If you know nothing about ASP.NET web application development, you should seriously consider outsourcing the project to a reputable IT consulting firm to save time and money. While many opt to learn ASP.NET on their own in order to build their web applications, it’s possible to outsource this work to an experienced software development team such as Keene Systems.  We have been working with ASP.NET since it came out in 2002.

    Keene Systems Inc. was initially founded in 1987 with the aim of delivering custom software development solutions and helping enterprises improve their business operations and business processes. They currently employ over 30 highly skilled .NET developers who are able to take your idea and quickly bring it to life in the real world precisely as you’ve envisioned. 

    Our specialty is writing custom ASP.NET web applications that improve the efficiency of your business. Whether you need to automate a repetitive task, create a dashboard to track important metrics or KPIs (key performance indicators) or make your manufacturing processes more efficient with custom software application development, Keene Systems can help you make it happen. 

    Keene Systems will successfully develop web applications that solve your major business problems, automate business processes, optimize your organizational workflows, and make your business run more efficiently. The investment will be well worth it, in the long run, giving you a competitive advantage.

    To find out more information about the best free ASP.NET development tools that you can leverage for your next big project, or to get answers to any other important questions you might have, please contact Keene Systems today. You can also download our great new eBook - Why ASP.NET Development Services Fuels Business Growth - to learn more about this essential topic. 

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